Bathtub baptism brings joy in North Africa
By Tim Allan | North Africa
Photo by Martin Jaros, via Unsplash.
The petite young woman entered the North African church almost apologetically.
Unused to the customs of the Christian faith, she had no idea what to expect or even what the inside of a church would look like.
Like many young women of her faith background in this modern city, she was wearing Western clothes and looked very similar to many members of the congregation.
The woman, a primary school teacher by profession, had often walked past the church on her way to other places in the city but, until this day, had never entered.
However, just recently, something – or maybe someone – had been pulling her to go inside.
She picked a day to go in when she knew other people would be there; people who could perhaps answer
her questions or at least offer a friendly handshake and a smile. As she went in, a friendly face came up to
her and asked: “What brings you here today?”
“I just wanted to see what the inside of a church looked like,” she replied.
The church she had entered was a large international church, where the services are in English, even in a country where French and Arabic are the major languages.
She stayed for the service, then came back a week or two later. Gradually, the church members became aware that while she wasn’t turning up every week, she was coming regularly. And soon she was starting to attend some of the midweek Bible studies.
Over a year or so, she became a familiar face at the church. All the while, she was telling people who asked that she was just trying to learn more about Jesus, that she didn’t yet believe in him.
But, behind the scenes and unbeknown to most of the congregation, she had been digging more deeply
into God’s word with the help of a few believers. They had quietly shepherded her and eventually brought her to the point where she could commit her life to Jesus.
One warm Sunday morning in the middle of the service she was invited to stand up by the leader. He announced that she had something she wanted to tell the church. As she spoke, she revealed she had been reading the Bible and now trusted completely in Jesus and wanted to show that by being baptised. She told the church: “I saw Jesus in all your faces.”
Oh, how the church rejoiced! They gathered round the young woman and prayed over her, before heading back to the pastor’s house for a meal and the baptism.
As they gathered in the house, it was obvious there was only place to baptise her – the bathtub! So, with much joy and laughter, she was immersed in the tub and joined the community of baptised believers.
Of course, that is not the end of the story. The church continues to disciple her, helping her learn more
about Jesus as she builds a closer relationship with him.
One church member, who works with SIM, said: “It’s amazing how God was at work in her life, even before she’d had any contact with Christian people. She said she’d had dreams of Jesus and, before she was baptised, that she had dreamt of him immersing her in water. It’s been a huge encouragement to the whole church to see her come to faith and to see that faith take root in her.”
•For the young woman to continue her walk with Jesus and for the church to demonstrate they are disciples who make disciples
•For God to be working in the hearts, minds and dreams of young Arabic speakers in North Africa and showing them who Jesus is
•For the North African church to develop strategies for reaching people of the majority faith who want to learn more about Jesus
For more information about serving in North Africa, email firstname.lastname@example.org.